MONDAY REFLECTION – The Only Verdict

Monday Reflection – September 09, 2019

The Only Verdict

O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!Micah 6:3

Allegations and accusations are part of our everyday reality right across the world. There is hardly a day when we don’t hear allegations swirling around and where persons are accused of something. Very often such are very dangerous and damaging. The damage caused by allegations can affect one’s life forever. We have to be careful, conscious and conscientious about the things we say about others, and the accusations we make against others.  

It is one thing to accuse others of wrongdoing, yet another to accuse God of same. The Israelites were seeking an escape route for their idolatrous and disobedient behaviour by accusing God of being unfaithful and unfair. God would have none of it. In Micah 6, God summons the people to defend their claims. He says in verse 1, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear what you have to say”. This is the language of a court of law. Yahweh orders the people to rise and present their case. In the scenario that Yahweh presents, the people are the plaintiffs (the ones bringing the lawsuit—the ones who claim to have been injured) and Yahweh is the defendant (the accused—the one who allegedly injured the plaintiff).

Yahweh invites the people to address their complaints to the mountains and the hills, as if the mountains and hills constitute the jury. If so, this will pose quite a challenge. How will the people convince the mountains and hills of the equity of their case when the mountains and hills know otherwise? They have seen what Yahweh and the people have done. They have watched the history of Israel unfold. They know that Yahweh brought these people into the Promised Land and gave them the victory over their enemies. They have seen the people build altars to pagan gods on the high places. The mountains and hills know who is right and who is wrong.

Yahweh invites the mountains and the “foundations of the earth” to serve as the jury—to determine who has broken the covenant relationship that has existed for centuries between Yahweh and Israel. God’s creation is well-suited to reach a just verdict in this case. Yahweh has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. Yahweh is prepared to defend himself against whatever accusations that the people might make. Interestingly though, in spite of the controversy, these people are nevertheless “his people”—Yahweh’s people. The covenant relationship has been damaged by the unfaithfulness of the people to the covenant, but the covenant relationship still stands. God remains faithful in the midst of the wrongdoings of his people.

Note well, GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL! In the midst of our failures and wicked deeds, God remains true to his promises and committed to our cause. We can bring no credible case against God; infact we better not, because the outcome is already determined. The only appropriate posture is to submit to the Lordship of God, confess our sins, humble ourselves, follow the Lord’s directives, and live our lives each day to honour him.      

Jermaine Gibson

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Unity in the body of Christ

Friday Reflection
September 6, 2019
Unity in the body of Christ

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Psalms 133:3 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.133.3.KJVPsalms 133:1 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.133.1.KJV

Happy Friday to you friends, it is the first Friday in the 9th month of the calendar year. The year is going by quickly, time is going by quickly. Therefore, there is no time for division among believers. “Let division be forsaken, and the holy join in one, and the will of God in all be done!

Today’s text for reflection is one that I hold dear to my heart. I have also said, and will continue to say “without unity in the body of Christ, there will be no miracles, no signs, no wonders in our midst” we will not experience the abundant blessings of our Lord and Savior.

There are two important things I want us to note today:
1. Unity is essential to body of Christ: It is like the salt in the sea. One cannot exist without the other. If we say we are people of faith we must dwell together in peace and love (unity). It is important for us to be honest, caring and trustworthy amongst ourselves and in our communities.

2. Without unity it is impossible to impact our communities If the church is divided,  the community will not only notice, but they become affected as well. The blessing of the Lord is wide spread , where there is unity, the bible says there is strength. I am convinced that when the church unites, the blessing of God will flood the community and unbelievers will become believers miracles, signs and wonders will occur.

Unity doesn’t mean we will all agree on everything. It means that when we disagree, we find the best way to compromise and agree. No relationship is perfect, but God is calling the church to a place of perfectness , a place of unity!

Untill next week, If you are at the altar and remember that ANYONE has something against YOU, LEAVE your gift ,  GO RECONCILE WITH SUCH A PERSON, then RETURN. Then and only then will unity be restored.

Blessings,
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

THURSDAY REFLECTION -Build each other in faith

Thursday Reflection – September 5, 2019

Build each other in faith

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

What is the purpose of fellowship in the body of Christ? It amazes me how we treat each other as believers of Jesus Christ. There are members who do not speak to each other, but during service they lift their hands in praise. There are members who speak negatively and maliciously of others behind their back, but in person smile with the person to indicate all is well. There are members who drive other members away, because they are different. There are members who lie, scheme, and criticize others so that they can be lifted up and others be brought down. These members claim to be part of the body of Christ. However, these actions do NOT represent the body of Christ.

As believers in Jesus we are called to build each other as iron sharpens iron. We are called to become believers who really care about others. Believers who genuinely love each other. Believers who support each other. Believers who put others above themselves. Believers who are willing to sacrifice what they have so that they can help others. Believers who love God with all their heart and not when it is convenient to them. Believers who are willing to speak the truth, but in love. Believers who do not tolerate sin. This is how we build each other up.  

The body of Christ is not a competition! No one is better than anyone. We are all equal; it is the same blood of Jesus that saved all of us. We are all meant to be winners. There is no first, second or third place. The pastor is equal to the one who cleans the church and the one who cleans the church is equal to the pastor. God doesn’t hold the pastor in higher regard than the one who cleans. God might give us different roles in the body of Christ, but all those roles add to making the body of Christ what it is.

Therefore, let us put away pride, status, and anything else that prevents us from building others in the body of Christ. It is my responsibility to encourage and build someone in the faith so that we both can grow strong together. Our common enemy is not each other, it is the forces of evil. So let us lift each other up in faith.

Until next week encourage someone today.

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – The Teaching Ministry

Wednesday Reflection – September 04, 2019

The Teaching Ministry

Things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us – we will not hide them from their children. Psalm 78:3-4

How do we know what we know? The limited knowledge that we have, how did we acquire it? Four answers come immediately to mind – what we have read and researched, what we have gained through experience, what the Holy Spirit has revealed, and what others have taught us. The contribution of persons who have taught us, academically, spiritually or otherwise, cannot be underestimated. Today’s text highlights the importance of spiritual education. There is a commitment in the text that what they have been taught, they will teach their children.

I love the expression in this text – “…we will not hide them from their children.” Our negligent silence must not deprive our children of the precious truth of God; it would be shameful if we did so. There is the anticipation of future generations and a promise to provide for their godly education. Indeed, it is the duty of the church to maintain, in fullest vigour, every agency intended for the religious education of the young. We must sow the seeds of righteousness and godliness now, so that we reap a righteous reward. Children are to be taught to magnify the Lord; they ought to be told about God’s wonderful works in ages past, and they should know that a decision to follow Christ is the best decision to make in life. The remainder of verse 4 says, “…we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”

Rick Warren supports this important programme of Christian education. In his book‘The Purpose Driven Church’, Warren notes that one of the factors which result in church growth is that people grow deeper through discipleship. Such discipleship results in maturity among members. He emphasizes an intentional people-building process. He says, “If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church.”

Bishop Robert Schnase, in his book, ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’, contends that successful congregations often have certain characteristics in common. These fundamental practices demonstrate congregational health, vitality, and fruitfulness. One such characteristic is Intentional Faith Development. He describes this as offering high quality learning experiences that help people understand scripture, faith, and life in the supportive nurture of caring relationships. Schnase views the ministries of Christian education and formation, small group work and Bible Study as absolutely critical to our mission. For him, we must consistently offer opportunities for people of all ages, interests and faith experiences to learn in community.

The Church has the awesome task of providing spiritual education to all, but especially to our children. We must have effective Sunday/Sabbath Schools, Bible Studies that are transformational, and sermons that are impactful. May God find us faithful.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Confidence in God’s Presence

Confidence in God’s Presence

King Ahaz was ruler of Judah, succeeding his father Jotham and his grandfather Uzziah. Isaiah the prophet had given counsel to his father and then to him. A crisis arose when King Perez of Israel and King Rezin of Syria invaded Judea to force them to form an alliance against the Assyrian Kingdom. Ahaz, acting against the counsel of Isaiah, turned to the Assyrian king for help. They get the help and Israel and Syria are defeated by the Assyrians, but at a heavy price to Judah as they were taxed heavily by the Assyrians, king Ahab became a vassal to the Assyrian king and Assyrian idols were introduced to the temple. It was in light of all these happenings that the Lord used Isaiah to call on Ahaz to repent and lead Judah back to God. Ahaz refused to change and he and the people of Israel traveled on a path of self-destruction rather than one of Godly obedience. Isaiah’s prophecy embodied God’s reaction to the religious infidelity of His people. God’s judgment was coming, it would be swift and deadly and Israel would be powerless to stop it, neither would they be shielded or protected from it. In the midst of this, the prophet maintains his own confidence in God. He would not follow the others and turn away from God. He trusted God’s plan, depended on God’s resources and lived in God’s presence. Today’s Watchword is from Isaiah 8: 17: I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.

God does not tolerate sin. Psalm 5: 4 tells us, For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. God’s people had sinned and refused to amend their ways. Isaiah therefore stated that God had turned his face away from His people because of their sin. This led to the sinful condition of the people worsening rather than becoming better. Those who remain blatantly disobedient to God’s words will eventually lose their perspective on right and wrong. Modern society has gotten to the stage where we laud the people, ideologies and things that are ungodly while underrating and disregarding what is Godly, what is righteous, what is good. Like the prophet Isaiah however, we are called to stand fast. Even though everyone had turned away from God, Isiah declared, I will wait for the Lord. We all know what it means to wait. As Christians we learn that regardless of what is happening around us or to us, we are to wait on God for God’s action is always perfectly timed and perfectly appropriate. We wait for God to deliver, to save, to heal, to provide. We wait because God is God and there is none like Him. We wait because we have confidence in God’s power and ability. We wait because God has never failed to come through. While the world around us forsakes God, we wait in confidence on God.

Our confidence stands in opposition to worldly defiance. Our confidence stands as a testament to God’s faithfulness and as a beacon to the fearful. It is our confidence that will strengthen others to trust God who even in His wrath, takes the time to show mercy to the faithful. We see what is happening around us but are not frightened by these events because we know that God is working through these events to win this apostate world back to himself. Do not fear what is taking place in these latter days, dear friends. We are to fear God and God alone. While he turns away from the wicked, God’s favor is always on his people. This is the confidence we have as Christians. We should therefore submit to God’s plan, live in God’s presence and be sustained through God’s bounteous provisions. 1 Peter 3: 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” Till next week, remain faithful and confident in God’s presence. Amen

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – Sovereign Dispenser of Mercy and Grace

Monday Reflection – September 02, 2019

Sovereign Dispenser of Mercy and Grace

I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Exodus 33:19

What a declaration from the Sovereign Dispenser of grace and mercy! He will dispense of his own grace and mercy in his own way! In the context of today’s Watchword, God has become frustrated with the sinful and rebellious ways of his people, Israel. While Moses is on Mount Sinai with God, the people made for themselves a golden calf to worship. This event sets off a minor debate between God and Moses about what God should do to the people of Israel in response to their idolatry. Initially, God proposes that he will destroy all the people of Israel and start over with Moses. However, Moses disagrees and tells God that such an action will bring shame upon God’s name. God then decides to not destroy the Israelites.

Moses then returns to the people and rebukes them for their behaviour. They repent, and so Moses returns to speak with God and plead with him to forgive the people. God says that he will forgive them, but he will not go with them to the Promised Land because his holiness would consume them in their sin. This leads Moses to intercede with God for the people of Israel. He tells God that if God does not go with them to the Promised Land, then they should not go at all. God agrees to go with the Israelites to the Promised Land. Moses requests to see the glory of God, and when God’s glory passes in front of Moses, it is then that Moses hears God’s statement that He will be gracious to whom he wants and will show compassion upon whom he desires.

Indeed, God exerts his right to be gracious and compassionate to whom he wants; however, God is not a God who rules with an iron fist and quell all dissent so that his people are mindless robots who do whatever God wants out of fear for the repercussions if they don’t. God desires and requires obedience, but he also loves when his people engage him in reasonable discussion and dialogue about his actions and decisions. Moses did this with God, and far from proving that Moses was a rebellious idolater who didn’t want God to be God, such intimate dialogue with God made Moses a friend of God. God desires to reason with us, for it is in this reasoning that he reveals his divine will and plans for our lives, and demonstrates his mercy and compassion. We hear God’s invitation, ‘Come, let us reason together’.

I could not close this reflection without noting that today marks the beginning of the new academic year 2019-2020. We pray that the fullness of God’s mercy and grace will be dispensed upon our teachers, students, administrators, Ministry of Education, parents and all stakeholders. Indeed, it is only by God’s mercy and grace that we can anticipate a successful and productive year. I believe today’s text also beckons us to reason with each other; not argue, quarrel or verbally abuse each other. May classrooms, staffrooms, offices and homes be places of productive reasoning that will result in our further growth and development.   

A blessed school year to all!

Jermaine Gibson